Mere Words Cannot Express

July 14, 2013 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

John Scott lists the best wordless verbal musical utterances from DuvAlumni.

Forward to 3:10

3. (Whistles) – by Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd in many songs.

While Ronnie Van Zant may be one of the most under-rated singers in rock history (just listen to others – aside from his brother – try to sing those songs), he is definitely one of the best whistlers on record. It seemed like he used that incredible “wolf whistle” to usher in a solo and the tone of the whistle was seemingly matched by the guitar that followed. Listen to the combo in “That Smell”, or when he “brings his mules out to pick it one time” on the live version of “Gimme Three Steps.” Otis Redding may have had the most well-known whistle on “The Dock of the Bay”, and Andy Griffith’s theme is timeless, but no one made a rock and roll statement with a whistle better than Ronnie Van Zant.

Forward to 2:03

4. “Shick-a-dow-shick-a-dow-dow” – uttered by Clyde Orange in “Brick House” by the Commodores.

Jacksonville’s Clyde Orange didn’t sing too many songs for the Commodores; when Lionel Richie’s in your band you have to understand, I suppose. But when he did, he upped the funk factor of the group, especially in the 70s. He sang lead on “Too Hot ta Trot”, a minor hit with a major groove, and actually sang co-lead on their smooth 1985 hit “Nightshift”. But,  on “Brick House”, the  funk was white hot and Orange’s “mmh-mmh-mmh’s” ,  whistles  and the “OW” on the intro of the song could’ve made this list, but let’s give it up for  the “shick-a-dow-shick-a -dow-dow” at the bridge.

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